Saturday, June 07, 2014

Mother Shipton's Cave

An expensive-for-what-it-is tourist attraction, though it claims to be one of the oldest in England!

The man managing the entrance is very helpful and enthusiastic, providing us with a treasure hunt sheet which is a bit beyond a four-year-old. 

The setting is superb, in the valley of the river Nidd, close to the soaring viaduct, with the steep rise of the town nearby.
Across the river chequerboard painted houses, flowery gardens, a parade of riverside cafés and boats for hire. Inside the park itself woodland walks, a couple of playgrounds which will provide some entertainment - though you may have to play yourself, even if you are over the age of twelve.

The cave itself and the story are interesting. Mother Shipton was the illegitimate daughter of a local girl who fled to the cave for safety, refusing to disclose the father of her baby.  The audio recorded story told for children is a bit scary for little ones, mainly because of the witchy voice.  The petrifying well is bang up to date with a racing bike to celebrate the forthcoming Tour de France Yorkshire Départ. 

We make our way along the path, past some tepees and this wagon, occupied by a dummy.
We walk past a log with coins hammered in. We make a rubbing of the old pennies.  Everywhere's a little muddy this morning.  

At the cave, Rose declares that she's not going to put her hand in to make a wish. And definitely doesn't want to listen to that witchy voice.  
But we do see a dipper flying in and out of a nest hole near the petrifying objects - mainly teddy bears which are sold later in the gift shop.  The dipper flies to and from the river a few times. That's the highlight for me.

No coffee shop open in the park itself, so I buy Rose an ice-cream, and then we go out into the lower part of the town, and walk over the bridge  and then along parallel to the river.  

The sun's shining now, so we sit outside one of the riverside cafés, before walking back. Lunch at a picnic table by the river, another half hour or so on the playground, and it's time to drive back to the city. 

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